International Rescue Committee (IRC)

2011: Seeds of renewal in North Africa

Each day this week, I am sharing an example of the extraordinary assistance that International Rescue Committee supporters helped us to deliver in 2011. 

Beyond the drought-stricken countries of East Africa, threats to life and livelihood are the result of civil war and its aftermath, and even in countries where political revolutions have taken place, economic privation usually continues to afflict the poor.  Your support is enabling the IRC to engage in two countries where our assistance can improve chances for a stable future.

When civil war erupted in Libya last February, we stepped in as waves of refugees and foreign nationals fled to Tunisia, and we also assisted many of the 70,000 citizens of Chad when they returned home.  Now we are providing resources and expertise to enable a fledgling Libyan women’s organization to launch efforts to empower women and address issues that have been ignored for decades. 

In Egypt, where more than 30 million people live on less than $2 a day, we sought to identify the best contribution we could make as its citizens seek their country’s renewal.  We determined that swift and effective economic empowerment of Egypt’s poorest citizens would be most helpful to the country’s long-term stability and economic development.

We moved toward that objective in October, when we launched a program to foster immediate job creation for unemployed and disadvantaged youth.  We also launched a micro-franchising initiative to stake young adults in enterprises like clothing shops and hair salons.

To strengthen and expand programs in both countries, the IRC established a small permanent base in Cairo.  Your support can help us use this new foothold to support the aspirations of people, especially women and youth, in forging societies where rights and dignity are respected and protected and where education and economic opportunity are available to all.

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